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Passion’s FortuneThe Story of Mills & Boon$
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Joseph McAleer

Print publication date: 1999

Print ISBN-13: 9780198204558

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198204558.001.0001

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Look Back in Amusement

(p.1) Introduction
Passion’s Fortune

Joseph McAleer

Oxford University Press

Ninety years after its founding, Mills & Boon is one of only two British publishers to have become a household name in Britain and throughout the Commonwealth. The story of Mills & Boon is almost a romance in itself, the tale of a handful of men and hundreds of dedicated women. The keys to Mills & Boon's success were a steady volume of new titles by popular authors; clever publicity; a dependable market with good distribution outlets; and vigorous research of the readership. Clearly, passions run high when people discuss Mills & Boon and the impact of popular fiction on its readers. But under closer scrutiny, there are several ‘myths’ about the firm and romantic fiction, namely the Orwellian agenda, ‘regressive’ storylines, the formula, and the dominating imprint. In this study, the archival material is enhanced and supplemented by interviews conducted with major and minor figures associated with Mills & Boon, Ltd., throughout the past ninety years. In addition to brothers Alan and John Boon, several authors have described their experiences, some of whom started their Mills & Boon careers in the 1930s, and continued to write for half a century.

Keywords:   Mills & Boon, Ltd., Britain, popular fiction, romantic fiction, Orwellian agenda, regressive storylines, the formula, dominating imprint

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